Frequently Asked Questions:

Why hire an architect?

Architects have the creative vision to take your ideas and make them reality.  We are able to present floor plans and building elevations to illustrate your goals.  We provide the design concepts early on in the process, and develop them to the construction documents needed to bid and build the project as efficiently as possible.  As an owner, it is beneficial to you to have someone that can provide the detail needed to give the contractor proper direction in the field.

The architect is the professional who has the education, training experience and creative vision to guide you through the entire design and construction process.  We help you define what you want to build and help you get the most for your construction dollar.

With our work, the contractors will have a clear understanding of what they are bidding on and building, and you will know what they are contractually obligated to provide.  We are able to monitor your budget and design to reduce energy and maintenance costs.

The relationship between the owner, the architect and the builder should always be a collaborative one, and the right team can make the process very smooth.

How are architect fees calculated?

Fees are calculated based upon the type of project and can be based upon time, a set fee, a percentage of the cost of project or the project’s square footage.  Typically, a retainer is paid at the time the architectural services are obtained and is applied toward the cost of the project.

How long does the process typically take to design a project?

The design process typically has two main phases:  Schematic Design and Construction Documents.

The schematic design phase is definitely one of the most important stages of the process. Providing the architect with a clear set of goals very early in this phase of the process often eliminates the need for field changes and therefore change orders to the construction documents which increase the cost of the project unnecessarily.  Depending upon the complexity of your project, we can usually provide design concepts within a few weeks of starting the job.

Once we have settled on the design, both interior and exterior, the construction documents and specifications are produced.  This phase of the project can take three to four weeks to complete.  Depending upon the municipality, the documents we produce are generally very detailed and complex.  They include site specific details, foundation plans, floor plans, building elevations, electrical and plumbing plans and details, wall sections, and building specifications.

How are changes to the design or construction documents handled?

Changes to the Schematic Design documents are expected during that phase of work.  Because these drawings are conceptual in character, they are typically easier to modify.  You should  limit the number of program altering changes, such as adding a Dining Room or Screened Porch, if those elements were not discussed during our consultation or planned for during the design phase.

Changes to the construction documents are less common and more difficult to accomplish.  We do not proceed to the Construction Document phase of the work until we are all satisfied that the design is reasonably secure.  Changes to the construction documents are usually handled on an hourly basis, and are billed as additional services.

Who files for the building permit?

The General Contractor typically files for the building permit because they have all of the license numbers for the subcontractors that will be building your project.  That information typically needs to be filled out at the time the permit is picked up and paid for.  The owner can also fill out and apply for the permit and fill in “TBD” in most cases.  Every village is unique, so please refer to the village website for instructions.

What is the Client’s Role in the Design Process?

The client’s main role is to communicate to the architect your design goals, functional requirements and budget.  Working in partnership with your architect will help ensure the best possible outcome for your project.

Where are your projects located?

Our current projects are located in the western suburbs of Chicago (Aurora, Downers Grove, Hinsdale, LaGrange, Oak Park and River Forest) and Northwestern Illinois (Dixon, Deer Grove, Oregon, Rock Falls, and Sterling).  We can design projects for any location.